Growing up in a town where fuddy-duddies ruled the roost meant we never had a proper place to skate – unless you call the local supermarket car park “proper”.
Thankfully, the youth of Dubai don’t have to deal with such staid souls and can now ollie and kickflip to their heart’s content in an incredible arena.
Welcome to XDubai Skatepark, a 3,100sq m haven for the hip young things of the city.
With a collection of 29 different elements, there’s enough to challenge even the most skilful skater, while novices shouldn’t feel left out as they try to learn the ropes.
“The response has been super-positive,” says Javad Khoramifar, a spokesperson for the park. “Experienced skaters have praised the amazing surface and the fact that all the elements have been so well thought through. You can’t just drop loads of concrete down and expect it to work. We want this facility to be admired by everyone using it.”
The park’s pièce de résistance undoubtedly has to be the XBowl, where the pros will go to show the newbies how it should be done. But to Khoramifar, the fact kids as young as three are already coming down to the special weekend sessions is giving his team immense joy.
“It’s beautiful to have the younger ones coming down with their parents and to see them kitted out and picking up the sport,” he says. “Safety is vital to us and we have a team on standby all day. The last thing we want is to demotivate anyone from coming back if they get hurt. It is an extreme sport so we provide pads and helmets for free. You bring your skateboard and we’ll take care of the rest.”
And after the park’s instant success, XDubai is already planning more venues, with each “unique in its own way”. Free. Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm; Thu 10am-midnight; Fri-Sat 8am midnight. Kite Beach, Umm Suqeim (04 346 000304 346 0003).